Chuppah wedding blessings for mixed faith couples

4 October 2020 – 16 Tishri 5781

October 4 2020

Mixed faith couples can receive a wedding blessing from a rabbi under the traditional Jewish chuppah (canopy) in a groundbreaking first from Liberal Judaism.

The Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors (CoLRaC) came to the decision, after much discussion, in order to recognise and celebrate the diversity of Jewish life in 2020.

It is the culmination of a process that began more than two decades ago when Liberal rabbis first began to conduct mixed faith wedding blessings in private. The next step was holding these in public, including in synagogue, and now the option of a chuppah has been added.

Mixed faith couples must be civilly married before any blessing, as the Marriage Law of England and Wales only permits rabbis and synagogue marriage secretaries to ‘officiate’ where both bride and groom ‘profess’ the Jewish faith.

As with all weddings, the use of the chuppah is at the rabbi’s discretion and where the couple intend to maintain a Jewish home.

Making headline news in The Guardian, Times, BBC Radio 4 and across the Jewish and faith press, this is the first time any Jewish movement in the UK has introduced the deeply symbolic chuppah into a mixed faith ceremony.

Liberal Judaism’s interim director Rabbi Charley Baginsky said: “We pride ourselves on diversity, equality and welcoming the Jewish homes our families build in all forms. So it was time to put our chuppah where our values are.”

This latest progression was driven by Rabbi Danny Rich and is part of Liberal Judaism’s recognition that many people build Jewish homes while maintaining other faiths or having no religion.

CoLRaC chair Rabbi Aaron Goldstein said: “This is both a common sense and courageous decision to allow our rabbis and cantors discretion to use a chuppah – the symbol of the creation of a Jewish home blessed by God.”

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